WALLA WALLA, Wash: Hampton Inn & Suites

While frequent travelers might be excused for thinking, “All Hampton Inns are pretty much the same,” the Hampton Inn & Suites in Walla Walla is definitely a cut above many.

Although 10 years old, it presents as a much newer property, which speaks to how well it is maintained. Both the exterior and the interior common spaces show virtually no signs of wear, and the guest rooms are equally well maintained.

King room bed

Guest rooms are also more generous than many. Ours, a King room, had a living/sleeping area that measured 15 x 14 feet (210 square feet), and that didn’t count the hallway and the bathroom with a double-sized walk-in shower.

The room had a King bed, a single armchair, and two padded cubes that could be used for sitting or propping one’s luggage. The étagère concealed a mini-fridge and storage shelves, and supported a 32-inch diagonal LG flat screen TV. While that seemed a bit on the small side, because of its proximity to the bed (which was really the only decent place for TV watching), it was adequate.

Off the short hall was a good-sized closet containing an iron and ironing board and an extra blanket. Across from the closet was a place on a wall to hang one’s coat or bathrobe. As we visited in early September, coats were unnecessary; however, later in the fall and winter, that could be quite handy indeed.

Coat hnging station

The workspace had plenty of plugs and USB outlets for the many electronics with which we travel and complimentary Wi-Fi with download speeds of 4.9 Mbps and upload speeds of 4.1 Mbps, as measured by Speakeasy.net/speedtest; quite adequate for checking email and social media.

Work station

Bath amenities were mid-range Neutrogena products; a cut above many properties in the mid-range hotel space. In addition, the bath included a nightlight, which can prove invaluable when negotiating an unfamiliar room in the dark and through the fog of sleep.

A hot buffet breakfast was provided every morning from 6 to 10, and the items rotated from day to day so it was less predictable than some. The dining area was open 24/7, affording guests a place to meet and talk, perhaps sharing a take-out dinner from a nearby restaurant or relax with a bottle of wine.

Speaking of wine, there is also a 24-hour pantry with snacks and wines available by the bottle, but here’s the kicker: Hotel guests can get a 10-percent discount at the Tertulia Cellars, as both the winery and the hotel are owned by the same people. A very nice perk indeed for those inclined to partake of the grape.

The hotel also has an outdoor pool and hot tub, business center, fitness room, and conference space available.

As nice as it is to stay in a property that is pleasant and well-maintained, service can make or break the best of them. Service here was very good, with staff members greeting us as we passed in the hallway, breakfast room or lobby, and occasionally taking time to chat with us about the history of the town (we asked; they didn’t foist themselves upon us!). Requests for various items were met quickly, and we were made to feel more like guests than simply customers.

Three areas could use upgrading. First, the chair at the desk was not a proper task chair and working there for lengthy periods proved uncomfortable. An ergonomic chair would be a big improvement, especially for business travelers. Second, a small sofa for two to replace the single chair would be great for couples and would provide a more comfortable place to watch television. Third, in-room safes would be most welcome.

The hotel is situated among office and industrial buildings along Dalles Military Road, a short drive from a handful of restaurants and grocery stores, and about two miles from the city’s downtown core. While not exactly in the “heart of the action,” it’s just a short drive away. The Hampton Inn and Suites in Walla Walla is a great place to make your temporary home.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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